Complementary Alternative Medicine Use Among Chinese Americans: Findings From a Community Mental Health Service Population

ArticleinPsychiatric Services 58(3):402-4 · April 2007with5 Reads
DOI: 10.1176/ · Source: PubMed
Complementary alternative medicine use among Asian Americans is widespread, yet poorly understood. This study explored its use among Chinese Americans reporting mental health symptoms. A cross-sectional survey determined the prevalence and correlates of complementary alternative medicine use in an urban sample seen at a community mental health service. Out of 153 Chinese-American patients, 126 (82%) reported current use of complementary therapies (megavitamin therapy, 46%; herbal medicine, 43%; massage, acupuncture, and spiritual healing, about 25% each). Compared with nonusers, users were older, female, employed, less well functioning physically, and less acculturated. Growing immigrant populations and increasing mental health services consumption by members of ethnic-racial groups in the United States call for more attention to complementary alternative medicine use and its potential to aid conventional medical and mental services delivery.
    • "Across all immigrant groups, those more likely to use services were women (39,43,50,52,63,80,81); those with higher education levels (35,43,82); and those who were divorced , widowed, or separated (40,82). In general, service use was positively associated with age (35,40,52,63,80,83), although one study found a negative association (48). Having insurance was positively associated with service use in many studies (35,38,40,50,52). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: Immigrants face stressors unique to the experience of migration that may exacerbate or cause mental health problems but access care at rates far below the general population, leaving them at risk of untreated mental health conditions. This review synthesizes current findings on mental health service utilization among immigrants to inform future research efforts addressing disparities in access to care. Methods: A systematic literature search of seven databases yielded 62 articles that met inclusion criteria: peer-reviewed reports of empirical studies based in the United States with an explicit focus on immigrant mental health service use. Each article was evaluated, and information was extracted by using a structured abstracting form. Results: Studies have shown that immigrants from Asia, Latin America, and Africa use mental health services at lower rates than nonimmigrants, despite an equal or greater need. Lower usage has been found to be more pronounced among men, the uninsured, and the undocumented. Structural barriers to service use reported included lack of insurance, high cost, and language barriers. Studies have shown that social support is particularly important for immigrants and that those who seek help for mental health concerns tend to turn first to family, friends, or religious leaders. Conclusions: Important areas for future research on disparities in mental health service use among immigrants include expanding research and analytic design to emphasize understudied groups and the heterogeneity of immigrant experiences over time, studying interventions that foster collaboration between formal and informal service sectors, and examining the role of social support in problem recognition and treatment initiation.
    Article · Dec 2015
    • "However, to facilitate comparison across studies, we compared two broad groups of CAM, self-directed versus practitioner-directed CAM use. The most commonly used CAM modalities among adults with depressive disorders as identified in the reviewed literature were self-directed, including herbal medicine (Badger et al., 2007; Bahceci et al., 2013; Bazargan et al., 2008; Dennehy et al., 2004; Elkins et al., 2005a; Elkins et al., 2005b; Fang and Schinke, 2007; Jarman et al., 2010; Kales et al., 2004; Keaton et al., 2009a; Linden et al., 2008; McPherson et al., 2004; Ravven et al., 2011; Strejilevich et al., 2013; Vasiliadis et al., 2011; Woodward et al., 2009; Wu et al., 2007); and vitamins and minerals (Bazargan et al., 2008; Cheung et al., 2007; Dennehy et al., 2004; Fang and Schinke, 2007; Jarman et al., 2010; McPherson et al., 2004; Vasiliadis et al., 2011); both herbal therapies and vitamin supplements were frequently used in those with a bipolar diagnosis (Davison et al., 2013; Jarman et al., 2010; Kilbourne et al., 2007). Popular practitioner-directed CAMs included mind–body therapies/relaxation (MBT) (Badger et al., 2007; Bahceci et al., 2013; Dennehy et al., 2004; Elkins et al., 2005a; Elkins et al., 2005b; Jacobson et al., 2009; Jarman et al., 2010; Purohit et al., 2013; Wilhelm et al., 2006; Woodward et al., 2009); acupuncture (Chao et al., 2012; Rickhi et al., 2003; Simon et al., 2004); homeopathy (Makich et al., 2007); massage (Adams et al., 2012aAdams et al., , 2012b Badger et al., 2007; Jacobson et al., 2009; McPherson et al., 2004; Wahlström et al., 2008; Wilhelm et al., 2006; Wu et al., 2007); naturopathy (Adams et al., 2012aAdams et al., , 2012b Wilhelm et al., 2006) and traditional Chinese medicine (Feng et al., 2010; Pan et al., 2013; Wei et al., 2013). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Depression has been identified as one of the most frequent indications for CAM use and is a strong predictor of CAM use. The present article provides a critical review of CAM use for depressive disorders including bipolar depression by addressing prevalence of CAM use and CAM users׳ characteristics, motivation, decision-making and communication with healthcare providers. A comprehensive search of 2003-2014 international literature in the Medline, CINAHL, AMED, and SCOPUS databases was conducted. The search was confined to peer-reviewed articles published in English with abstracts and reporting new empirical research findings regarding CAM use and depressive disorders. A considerable level of CAM use was observed among both general and clinical populations of people suffering from depressive disorders, many of whom use CAM concurrently with their conventional medicine. In particular, high rates of CAM use were found among those with bipolar disorder, an illness known to cause substantial impairments in health-related quality of life. Concomitant prescription medication use ranged from 0.52% to as high as 100%. Study design such as the inclusion of bipolar and depression in the same diagnostic category hamper the differentiation and attribution of CAM usage for symptoms. Findings of our review show that enduring impairments in function and persistence of symptoms (as reflected by increased CAM use proportional to severity of illness and comorbidity) are the impetus for sufferers of depressive illness to seek out CAM. The psychosocial factors associated with CAM use in depressive illnesses and severe mental illness are yet to be established. Subsequent research amongst those with depressive disorders would be informative in clarifying the range of motivations associated with mental illness. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015
    • "Anxiety symptoms are among the most common reasons for consumers choosing to use CAM therapy [20,56]. Thus, the identification of effective CAM therapy for anxiety is of relevance, particularly among minority populations [57,58], the uninsured, and individuals who may avoid conventional psychiatric treatment due to social stigma [59]. Moreover, the majority of people visiting a mental health provider for anxiety were also using CAMs [60]. "
    Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
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